Public WiFi networks essential for Olympics travellers and UK holiday makers

Devicescape has today unveiled results from its second quarter 2012 WiFi Report.

With the Olympics started, London is expecting approximately one million visitors. One of the big trends of these Olympics is likely to be the ‘connectedness’ of London, as it seeks to cope with the influx of both travellers from abroad and those looking to ‘staycation’. Foreign visitors, in particular, are increasingly looking for ways to stay online without incurring expensive roaming charges, and are likely to turn to WiFi to provide the backbone of their communication needs.

As results from Devicescape’s survey show, almost nine in ten people declared that they would look to WiFi networks to reduce data roaming charges when using their smartphones to carry out data-expensive processes. For a cost-effective service, it is likely that many visitors will look to public WiFi hotspots when undertaking any mobile data activity.

Another concern is that one in two respondents say they have experienced problems with the quality of mobile networks at large sporting events where the local networks are particularly congested. This further outlines the reason WiFi will be sought after by people using mobile internet on their smartphones.

Consumers often wish to use social networks to connect with their friends when they are at an exciting event or on holiday. In fact, over 40% of respondents said thay they would use social media to connect with fellow sports fans. Furthermore, 40% of people said that they regularly stream sports events on their mobile devices. This means that for people wishing to enjoy the Olympic buzz, but not attend the live events, free public WiFi will be essential to keep the data costs down when carrying out these data-expensive activities.

“The Olympics and similar events present an opportunity for WiFi to shine,” said Dave Fraser, CEO of Devicescape. “In environments where wireless connections suffer due to heavy data usage, WiFi, with its vast capacity, emerges as the better choice to keep the citizens of the world connected. Regardless of how the stadium’s own WiFi provisioning holds up, it is likely that London’s wider network of public and proprietary WiFi connections will form the backbone of data connectivity for visiting guests. As WiFi networks offer varying quality-of-experience , Devicescape’s technology ensures a consistent, quality-managed experience across such a disparate variety of networks.”

Another finding was that 93% of hotel guests expect free WiFi to be provided; something of obvious topicality as The City sees such a heavy influx of tourists. As hotels look to take full advantage of London 2012 and summer holidays, offering free WiFi is likely to be a good differentiator. Over 77% of respondents also said that they would use their smartphones to take advantage of shopping coupons and discount deals when visiting London.

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